After waiting for such a long time, we finally get to take a look at Ayaka and this Princess is not only elegant but deadly as well and we’re here to find out just how strong and relevant she is in today’s Genshin Impact. It’s no secret that Ayaka has been in the works since we’ve last seen her from previous closed beta footage and surprisingly enough – not much has changed about her which kind of tells you just how long everything takes in game development world. Now whether this is a good or bad thing shouldn’t be of anyone’s concern because this is the final product we’re looking at and there’s a lot of unique things we need to go over in order to get the best impression of her. First things first – her overall playstyle and kit design is pretty simple to say the least, there’s not a long of going on but for those looking to master her damage rotation will be met with an enjoyable although sometimes weird learning curve.
And obviously, the thing that sets her apart from everyone else is the special dash that she can do, which is pretty much the same as Mona’s.
However, unlike Mona, whose dash acts more like a vanity feature aside from few applicable cases, for Ayaka, this dash basically encompasses her overall playstyle and even the damage rotation. And that’s because after dashing, her attacks become infused with Cryo for a brief period of time, just enough to let you land few powerful normal or charged attacks which in itself is already pretty awesome but what truly forces you to play around this mechanic is the passive skill which gives additional Cryo damage bonus for 10 seconds after using the dash but more importantly – she will also recover some stamina points.
Basically, when you’re going up against enemies at melee range, you just need to do a brief dash to get infused with Cryo, improve the elemental damage itself and even recover the stamina you just spent for the dash, so it comes with no surprise you’d want to keep this on repeat for as long as possible, seeing how beneficial this strategy is. And from the initial gameplay sessions and various teams being tested, her performance was very consistent but because she can output so much Cryo element, it was clear as a day that the most comfortable way of using her was a Freeze Team comp along with either Xingqiu and Mona as her partner in crime. It was just so easy to keep on your enemies on constant lockdown and you could sometimes even forget that the purpose is to exterminate them instead of keeping them alive as popsicles.
This idea would get even further reinforced when you would put one of the Anemo team mates like Venti or Sucrose to Swirl and spread those elemental statuses which made things even more easy to keep the Freeze going strong. Hearing all of this probably makes you think that’s where the majority of her damage will be coming from but this is far from the actual reality because while she doesn’t have the most complex or interesting abilities, they sure do hit like a truck. And it’s all thanks to those juicy damage multipliers, especially her Burst where it will perform many hits in succession, much like how Diluc’s burst works but it definitely deals more damage, although it comes with a big price tag of an energy cost of 80. And even if her elemental skill produces 4 particles, you still need to either use a Cryo team mate like Diona or Rosaria to improve the consistency or at worst case scenario, you can aim for some Energy Recharge from artifact substats.
On the flipside, because of her element, Blizzard Strayer is essentially a must have artifact set that gives an insanely high critical rate boost from the full set bonus which means you get more flexibility when it comes to rolling for those substats and getting either ATK% or Energy Recharge isn’t such a bad deal in the end.
So essentially – the first impressions of her standalone design and performance with few teams shows strong potential but it’s always a good idea to take a closer look at her relevancy compared to the rest of the characters and current landscape of the game. The big question a lot of us have in mind would be whether or not it’s worth getting Ayaka especially after so many new Inazuma characters have been revealed. And to get the boring and obvious part of the way – if you like the design or aesthetic looks of her, go for it, no one’s stopping you just make sure you do this responsibly without endangering your own financial wellbeing. But if we take a look at her from standpoint of different players, especially considering some of the flaws that keep her away from the ridiculous power level of a Cocogoat, then we can hopefully get a better picture of her.
Now it’s clear that she’s very strong, in fact, she’s so good at what she does, even beginners who are just starting out will be easily able to take advantage of her playstyle and in fact, maybe that’s why miHoYo decided to go with her as the first character of Inazuma, seeing that many players will be returning to the game as well as new one’s just starting their journey, so there could be a reason behind her simplistic design in order to get the newly acquired players adjusted to the game more easily.
Still, she’s kind of locked into a single role, even if supposedly you could use her as a substitute damage dealer since neither her skill nor burst requires her to be on the field but there’s just not that much reason to use her for that matter, seeing how none of her abilities asisde from 4th constellation can benefit the team and even then, this only concerns a small percentage of the playerbase that live in their own ecosystem. The other drawback would be the limited potential of her elemental reactions, more precisely Superconduct and Melt.
For the former, it’s quite clear this reaction is redundant for her playstyle seeing how you want to upkeep the infusion on her normal attacks all the time, so seeing a white number is a sign of bad damage performance and you want to keep it as light blue as possible, which means pairing her together with Electro team mates will prevent you from squeezing out all the potential out of her and the rest of the team. But that’s not shocking enough if we’re being honest, the more harsher thing would be the problematic nature of causing Melt reactions with her. And the keyword here would be consistency which actually is kind of ironic, seeing how she herself can produce Cryo application without too much effort, but the problem reveals itself in the form of Internal Cooldown and the fact her attacks are split into smaller damage multipliers.
A good example would be an enemy that has Pyro status on them and now you want to cause the Melt reaction which will work fine with her elemental skill and it’s going to deal a ton of damage, but what about her burst or normal attacks, which only few of them will get amplified before going on the internal cooldown which you can kind of work around if you can keep the pyro status going with other team mates but this honestly comes out as too much of a hassle. And sure, just because Melting won’t be super efficient doesn’t mean she can’t perform well with someone like Xiangling who has been an excellent duo partner for Childe that is in a similar situation like Ayaka, but the key difference here would be who is going to be applying the status and who will trigger.
And let’s not forget the fact Blizzard Strayer exists, which heavily rewards you for using her together in a Freeze team and helps you capitalize on the massive critical rate boost. Seeing how she doesn’t fare well with the other reactions or at least can’t realize their full potential unless someone discovers a new method, then we’re basically left with the obvious approach for her best build.
But that doesn’t mean she struggles with different team compositions and for those who are regular or hard-core end-game players, will find her to be a great substitute for popular comps like National Team, where she can replace Chongyun and reliably act as the new Cryo damage dealer, which can be good news for those who are lacking on 5-star characters but have built enough 4-stars like the ones in National Team.
Now for something more broken, Morgana has been known to be as the go-to team for Spiral Abyss especially when you’re dealing with multiple enemies but the problem it had was the moment you go up against a single boss, the potential drops off and putting Ayaka instead of Ganyu actually improves the whole team in that niche where you want to deal with single targets more efficiently, but that’s pretty much it at least from the initial testing, because Ganyu was still superb when it came to more than 1 enemy in this equation. It’s also important to note how relevant she feels inside the Inazuma region and even the new Abyss because of the newly added Electro Abyss Mage and Lawachurl whose shields you can easily take care of by using her Cryo attacks not to mention there’s also those annoying Heralds and Lectors that you can now abuse with infinite supply of Cryo.
So in short – as a standalone unit, Ayaka is a force to be reckoned with and with the current lineup of existing characters, her biggest potential lies in a Freeze Team composition while she can also work nicely with existing popular teams like National and Morgana, bringing in her own unique flavor into the mix but at the same time, she gets held back by some elemental reactions due to how much Cryo element she is able to output which almost makes you think she acts more like a catalyst user than anything else.
But even then, she will definitely get appreciated by all types of players, from beginners to veterans thanks to how much damage she is able to produce without needing to rely on amplifying reactions. For someone who has been in the works since Genshin Impact first came out globally, Ayaka somehow still manages to feel relevant to Inazuma’s update and even though her design might be a little archaic and not innovative enough, sometimes these things don’t matter because the overall gameplay style and damage rotation is what makes her exciting so it’s nice to see how natural it feels to use her dash animation which more or less acts as her gimmick, much like we already saw with other characters like Hu Tao and Xiao.
But probably the easiest way to describe her would be someone that does a job really well in most fields but excels in one particular thing, which would be the Freeze Team composition thanks to the fact Blizzard Strayer set is so fitting for her, which kind of comes off as a double edged-sword, because this is a specialty set where only few characters benefit from it, so it does mean you will need to spend good amounts of resin if you’re interested in getting the most out of her, although, luckily, she deals beastly damage even without the set bonus, so even players who just reached end-game can take advantage of her damage output on the higher floors of the Abyss by using generic 2-set combinations.
But overall, it’s great to see that big damage can be done without relying on amplifying reactions which have been dominating the game for a while now but as we saw with recent additions of Eula and Kazuha, miHoYo seems to be taking a different approach where you get rewarded for taking advantage of what’s unique about the character and in return, makes things feel more balanced. Speaking of which, after many team compositions were tested out, it’s clear that Freeze is going to be her go-to one stop solution to taking care of enemies which is a pretty deadly combination considering not only do you keep your foes under crowd control but they also get punished with big damage numbers.
Still, as far as compliments go, there are some drawbacks that grounds this character and the main one is going to be the huge burst cost which makes sense because that thing is seriously scary if most of its hits land so aside from managing Energy Rechage, getting put together into a team with another Cryo character who acts as the battery for elemental particles is going to be a common sight in many team builds. The other thing you will often see is your stamina bar going into the red zone if you’re not careful enough managing it, especially seeing how the dashing and charged attacks are part of the damage rotation, so finding a good balance between the two is going to be an important learning curve when mastering this character.
However, in the end, Ayaka definitely feels like a character that’s worthy to be the one welcoming you to Inazuma and every player will find her to be very competent and beneficial, even if you don’t immediately take advantage of her Freeze team potential.
Besides, it’s not like some of the loyal fans who have been waiting for her since closed beta days need any more convincing than the fact she’s finally available. Hope you enjoyed this initial impressions video of this Inazuma Princess and if you’d like to help out the channel, make sure to subscribe with notifications enabled and don’t forget to gently press the like button.
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